The ongoing Ashes, which Australia lead 2-1 against traditional rivals England, have witnessed some exciting cricket from both camps. All the matches have gone down to the wire, with the team holding on to their nerves eventually prevailing in crunch situation; going by what we’ve seen in all the three matches that have been played so far.
The series has also witnessed plenty of chatter from both camps and things have become more intense after the controversial Jonny Bairstow dismissal in the second Test played at Lord’s, which Australia won by 43 runs.
As England aim to get back on level terms in the fourth match, which will be played from July 19 in Manchester, former Australia captain Ian Chappell in his latest column for ESPNCricinfo highlighted how relying on old guns have hurt the hosts.
England launched the ferocious pace of Mark Wood only in the third Test at Leeds, while James Anderson and Stuart Broad led the attack in the opening two matches, which the Three Lions lost. Chappell feels Wood’s inclusion and his match-winning performance in the third encounter “highlighted a perennial English failing selection.”
“England rely heavily on the skill of Stuart Broad and his chokehold on David Warner to spearhead their attack. They belatedly introduced the big-hearted Mark Wood into the series and he proved his worth with a high-speed attack at Headingley. Wood’s inclusion highlighted a perennial English failing selection.
Not only did they fail to introduce his threatening pace until the third Test, they’ve chosen a wicketkeeper who is a batter first, in Jonny Bairstow, whose mistakes with the gloves have cost his side dearly,” the ex-cricketer wrote.
Bairstow has not been able to fire with the bat, accumulating just 141 runs at an average of 23.50 from six innings. His wicketkeeping too has let down the team on a few occasions. If we look at the first Test at Edgbaston, Bairstow missed out on a host of chances, starting with Cameron Green routine stumping opportunity off his second ball at the crease in the first innings.
The English gloveman then dropped Alex Carey twice in the match.
Chappell was also not very impressed with England’s call to include Moeen Ali, who came out of Test retirement to be a part of the Ashes. Chappell pointed that the spinner even in his prime was not considered a threat to Aussies and so has been the case. Ali has just managed five scalps in two matches and has been equally ineffective with the bat.
“They also chose to offer red-carpet treatment to Moeen Ali, who in his prime was never much of a bowling or batting threat to Australia,” wrote the former Australia skipper.